Jewish Hospital Cancels Planned Suspension of Heart Transplant Program

Louisville, Ky. (August 23, 2019) – KentuckyOne Health and the University of Louisville are working together to maintain the heart transplant program at Jewish Hospital.

KentuckyOne Health is canceling a voluntary action to place its heart transplant program on long-term inactivation. The health care company had announced on July 18 that it would place the program on long-term inactivation but is now asking the United Network for Organ Sharing, the organization that manages the U.S. organ transplant system, to disregard that action.

Following the signing of the Asset Purchase Agreement last week, KentuckyOne Health and UofL began discussions to maintain activation of the heart transplant program. On Nov. 1, UofL Health will assume leadership over Jewish Hospital, including its Certificate of Need for the transplant program. 

“UofL has assured us it is committed to the heart transplant program,” said Deborah Lee-Eddie, Interim CEO, KentuckyOne Health Louisville Market. “As part of the transition planning UofL is working on strategies to increase volume for the heart transplant program.”

Ken Dulnuan, MD, a cardiologist with University of Louisville Physicians, has been appointed as the medical director for the program. 

“The heart transplant program is simply too important for our university, our community and the patients who are depending on this life-saving procedure,” said UofL President Neeli Bendapudi. “We thank KentuckyOne for working with us to maintain the program. We are taking steps to shore up our efforts, and very soon we will have a plan in place to ensure the viability of the program for the future.”

Heart transplantation has been a collaborative program of both Jewish Hospital and UofL for more than 35 years. The first heart transplant in Kentucky took place on Aug. 24, 1984 at Jewish Hospital. Last year KentuckyOne and UofL celebrated a major milestone after the 500th heart was transplanted.

In addition to heart, Jewish Hospital performs transplants for lung, liver, kidney and pancreas, making it one of a select group of hospitals transplanting all five solid organs. All five programs will transfer to UofL Health upon closing of the purchase agreement. 

About Jewish Hospital 

Jewish Hospital, part of KentuckyOne Health Louisville Region, is an internationally renowned, high-tech tertiary referral center, developing leading-edge advancements in hand and microsurgery, heart and lung care, orthopedics and sports medicine, neuroscience, organ transplantation and outpatient care. The hospital is the site of the world’s first successful hand transplant and AbioCor® implantable replacement heart procedures, in addition to the first trial of adult cardiac stem cells in chronic heart failure. Jewish Hospital continues to be recognized for its specialized heart care procedures, including the implantation of ventricular assist devices (VAD), and transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR). The Jewish Hospital Trager Transplant Center is in a select group of hospitals nationwide that perform heart, lung, liver, kidney and pancreas transplantation. The center also includes a Pancreas Disease Center, a GI Motility Clinic, and Advanced Heart Failure and Ventricular Assist Device programs. Jewish Hospital services may also be accessed throughout the community at multiple freestanding outpatient/ambulatory/emergency care centers, as well as through the Healthy Lifestyle Center located on the downtown medical campus. 

About the UofL School of Medicine

The University of Louisville School of Medicine, founded in 1837, is one of the oldest medical schools in the United States. On its metropolitan Health Sciences Center campus, more than 600 medical students, 275 graduate students and 1,000 resident physicians and post-doctoral fellows train each year with approximately 900 faculty members in five basic science and 18 clinical science departments. Researchers at UofL are using stem cells to regrow damaged heart muscle, investigating new cancer treatments and improving therapies for spinal cord injuries, among many areas of clinical and basic research. In addition to teaching and research, faculty members see patients at facilities throughout the city, including the Ambulatory Care Building, the UofL Physicians Outpatient Center, the James Graham Brown Cancer Center, University of Louisville Hospital, the primary adult teaching hospital for the School of Medicine, and Norton Children’s Hospital, the pediatric teaching hospital for the school.